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Can you score with horses carrying a penalty?

By profitablebetting, Oct 21 2018 07:43AM

According to the very useful “Guide to handicapping” published by the British Horse Racing Authority the essence of handicapping is :


“...that the weight a horse carries ultimately affects the speed at which it can gallop. A handicap is a race where each horse is set to carry a weight, allocated according to the horse’s ability, in an attempt to equalise every horse’s chance of winning. Every time a horse runs in a race the performance is analysed by the ‘Handicapper’ and the horse (depending on various qualifying criteria) is allocated a rating. Every case is judged on its individual merits with the Handicapper taking into account all the pertinent variables such as the weight the horse carried in relation to other runners, the race distance, the ground, the draw (if a Flat race), the finishing margins between runners, the pace at which the race was run, the strength of the current form of the runners, and whether any incidents occurred that could have impeded one or more of the runners or exaggerated a horse’s performance. The ratings are expressed in imperial pounds and are based on the concept that all horses can be assessed on a numerical scale that enables their ability as a racehorse to be compared

to others”.


Horse's ratings are assessed once a week by the official handicappers of the British Horse Racing Authority (BHA). This creates an opportunity for the wily trainer because it is possible for a horse to race again off the same official handicap rating within seven days. It is perfectly possible that a trainer could exploit a horses ratings and get two or three wins in a week out of the horse because it is so well handicapped. To level out this advantage the BHA require a horse to run under a penalty three, five or seven pounds to cancel out any advantage that they might have. However, if a trainer thinks the horses ratings is going to go up by a lot more than seven pounds because it is improving and in its last race it won with plenty in hand then they will still exploit the advantage and run again even though the horse will have a penalty to carry.


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